Service and welfare in transnational space
Project manager: Annika Rabo; Researcher: Erik Olsson

Migrants in Diaspora often retain social connections with friends and relatives in multiple countries. How do these transnational relations influence the demand of social services? Through the examples of Syriacs and Swedes in Diaspora this demand is investigated through this project.

The aim of this project is to understand how social networks assume responsibility for social support in transnationally connected migrant populations. The focus is on social care and welfare related services among Assyrians/Syriac migrants residing in Sweden and among Swedish/Nordic migrants residing in Spain whose everyday lives are embedded in transnational spaces. There are significantly different social, demographic, cultural and economic opportunities for people belonging to these two different categories in, for example, providing care for the elderly or economically supporting a relative in need. The social practices of these diasporas will thus materialise in different ways at a time of diminishing public resources for general welfare expenditure and the emergence of new forms of public-private welfare provisions. The two categories also have different experiences of  publicly and privately  organised and financed welfare and of formal and informal care in their ‘home-countries’, both of which affect how social support will be perceived and organised in the two diasporic cases.

Data will be collected through an inventory of welfare actors, semi-structured interviews with these actors, participant observations in service and care institutions and in-depth interviews with welfare actors active among Assyrian/Syriac migrants in Sweden and Swedish/Nordic migrants in Spain.


COHAB: Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging

A Marie Curie Initial Training Network

Coordinator: Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster

Partners: The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Stockholm University, University of Mumbai, University of Northampton

Research coordinator, SU: Professor Erik Olsson, CEIFO

All over the world, stable concepts of home and belonging have, for a variety of reasons, become the exception rather than the rule. This has led to dramatic cultural, social and political changes and challenges. The study of diaspora and migration has therefore evolved into a burgeoning field of research with an urgent practical relevance. In a wide and sometimes confusing array of approaches it is mainly covered by the humanities and the social sciences.

The CoHaB Network unites world-leading institutions in this field in the conviction that interdisciplinary training as well as international and inter-sectorial cooperation are key to any productive study of diasporas. CoHaB gains scope and momentum by its ‘Network of Networks’ rationale, binding together already existing cooperation. It is based on the resolve to strengthen interdisciplinary research in the field with a view to establishing diaspora studies as a transdisciplinary research area in its own right.

Training young researchers on the basis of this conviction means to provide them with the opportunity to conduct their work in a variety of disciplinary environments as well as outside a purely academic context. Specifically, CoHaB aims at stimulating and facilitating cooperation by negotiating core concepts between the various disciplines involved among the partner institutions.

The Network is funded by an EU FP 7 grant.


Equal workplaces in an unequal world. A study about what encourages ethnic and gender equality at Swedish workplaces.

Professor Associate Alireza Behtoui

Studies of Swedish Workplaces have shown a considerable inequality; often women and immigrant earn less than men and “natives” with the same job. Women and immigrants faces more roadblocks in their careers. How then are some workplaces almost equal, despite the unequal environment? This project aims to compare what influences the situation for women and men, immigrants and people with Swedish background, in two different workplaces, on equal and one unequal. Part of the project will take place at Statsvetenskapliga Institutionen (Institute of Political Science) at Stockholm university (Project-lead: Professor Kristina Boréus)

The Project is financed by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)


A Feminist Sustainable development-Towards a social urbanism aimed by Politics of Emotion, Intersectionality and Feminist Alliances

PhD Juan Velasquez

This project aims to study whether (and how) the shift from integration towards participation have taken place in cities that have been facing big challenges to cope with discrimination, residential segregation and racism. Because of the emotional character that lay behind cities that use to be blamed for being among the most dangerous in the world the research will elucidate whether emancipatory politics of emotions could play a determinant role paving the way towards a participatory planning for empowering underrepresented suburbs and groups, especially among barrio women. This research also explores how urban planning apply politics of emotion, intersectionality and transversal politics when professionals and social movements advance its work for a sustainable city development. It explores how urban planning in Latin American cities like Caracas, Cochabamba, Medellin and La Habana aim to face the challenge of trying to overcome discrimination, segregation and racism by participatory planning practices. The work is conducted using digital video for ethnographic research based in participatory observation, in-depth interviews, group interviews and memory workshops. The research in conducted with in a grant for the tenure as assistant professor from the Swedish research council FORMAS.

More info in Sweden is available from FORMAS website.
Publications so far (Nov. 2011)


Transnational educational careers

Study choices, horizons of possibility, and social networks for young people with international ties

This project examines the growing share of young people in Sweden who, either through their own or their parents’ migration, have access to different international social networks and how they relate to post-high school education.  A starting point for this project is that these individuals have support in the local communities where they live as well as in the familial homeland and other communities outside of Sweden.   Another starting point is that many of these individuals seem to “inherit” their parents “difference” in the Swedish community.  This often has consequences in regard to their job opportunities and their chance to be considered equal within the Swedish-born society.  With these two starting points, this project focus is directed towards young people’s circumstances regarding educational careers.  The comprehensive purpose of this project is to show how a transnational perspective generates knowledge about educational careers with attention to not only the social conditions and the societal limitations that characterize a type of ethnic and social belonging, but also to young people’s access to transnational networks.   With a transnational perspective we place the focus on social formation practices that, through different boundary crossing activities, can hold communities together over great geographic distances and thus also influence individuals in their distinct life choices.
Read article in British Publishers "Social inclusion matters beyond national borders"


The Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA)

SLICA is an international joint effort of research and indigenous people to measure and understand living conditions in the Arctic. (Charles Westin, Professor and Kristina Lasko,Ph. D. Candidate)


Cultural and Racial Politics of Representation: A study of Diasporic Masculinities

FD, Fataneh Farahani

This is a comparative study, centered on three different metropolis (Sidney, Stockholm and London) and is about men from Iran and how sexuality and masculinity is created in the Western diasporic context and the relationship with other (white) men.

The purpose with this post-doctorial research project is to study masculinity and sexuality to a diasporic context. A main mask is to study how the presentation/representation of Iranian men (often including in categories as middle-eastern men or Muslim men) in different Western diasporic context forms these men’s self-identity (translated from Swedish).

Through the analysis of the conception and categorization of “we” and “them” in different social context, this study wants to show how men confronts racist conceptions, stereotypes and prejudice in their daily life. Thus I want to problematize how these conceptions is used to separate “narrow-minded” and “backwards” Iranian (muslim) men from “modern and equal” Western (Swedish) men.



Previous projects (2007-2010)